African nationals abroad have faced mixed fortunes in their attempts to be repatriated to their home countries. From those who were fortunate enough to find their ways home before lockdowns were announced, to those who are still stranded and are running low on funds, it’s been safe to say that repatriation efforts during the height of the pandemic has been frustrating.
The story of Nattaniah Kuhn, a South African national who made headlines after trekking from Cambodia to South Korea, only to eventually be stranded in Doha. While in Cambodia, she attempted to cross the border into Thailand where she would have boarded a chartered flight to South Africa.
She wrote at the time:
“If we can’t get on this flight, there are not enough people in Cambodia to warrant another flight and they will abandon us here. Airlines are already going bankrupt, so future travel is already problematic.
“I’m completely dependent on food parcels from people and a room is provided for me too. I’m desperate to get home.”
Her story is just one of many that are playing out in numerous countries across the world and it seems no profile is immune to the effects of displacement. Take for instance Springboks rugby player Malcolm Marx who is stuck in Qatar. Speaking to the Lions official website, he said:
“I am keen thought to get back to South Africa and join the Lions family again. Hopefully we can start training soon and back into games. I really missed my Lions family very much,”
Meanwhile Nigeria’s foreign affairs ministry says about 4000 Nigerians abroad have indicated willingness to come back home, as the process of repatriation has already begun. Meanwhile, the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, NIDCOM, says the returnees will need to undergo a compulsory 14-day isolation. Chairman of NIDCOM, Abike Dabiri-Erewa joins CNBC Africa for more.
While many airlines have struggled to operate, RwandAir has successfully repatriated dozens of Rwandans from Brussells in Belgium over the past few weeks.
Have you or anybody you know had to try and arrange repatriation back to your home country? Share your stories with Moziak Magazine today!